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2 suspects held as NAF begins investigation into Arotile’s death

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Nigerian Air Force says it has started an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of its Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, who died on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, in a road accident.

In an interview with The Punch, the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola said two suspects are being held over Arotile’s death.

NAF had earlier explained that Arotile was “inadvertently hit by the reversing vehicle of an excited former Air Force secondary school classmate while trying to greet her.”

Daramola on Friday, July 17, 20202, said whatever needs to be known to the public about the death of the first female combat helicopter pilot would be made known.

Nigeria's first and only female combat Helicopter pilot, Tolulope Arotile died in a road accident. [heraldnigeria]
Nigeria’s first and only female combat Helicopter pilot, Tolulope Arotile died in a road accident. [heraldnigeria]

He said, “First of all, in my first statement, I said she died from a road traffic accident. I further clarified the nature of the road traffic accident where one of her excited classmates who saw her reversed his car which led to him hitting her and knocking her down. This led to head injuries and a lot of haemorrhaging which ultimately resulted in her death.

“The two boys are in custody and the NAF will do a thorough investigation into the matter. It is a routine process — our own processes that are ongoing because it happened inside a NAF base. At the appropriate time, whatever information needs to go out will go out. But we cannot pre-empt that investigation process.

“Whatever needs to be known will be known; it is standard practice. So, we are investigating the circumstances leading to her death by a road traffic accident. It is an investigation because it may go beyond NAF.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force had on Friday announced that Arotile, who hailed from Iffe in the Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State, would be buried at the National Military Cemetery, Abuja, with full military honours on Thursday, July 23.

Until her death, Arotile was a member of the Nigerian Defence Academy Regular Course 64 and she contributed to the to rid the North-Central states of bandits and other criminal elements.

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